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Discussion in 'Henson People' started by Gorgon Heap, Jan 10, 2006.
Terry, do you have any special memories of Jim Henson?
Not exactly. Those were just examples. I was wondering if there were other Fraggles like Morris that the performers had altered (like the bald pink Fraggle w/ purple hair, or the tan one with a moustache and sleepy eyes).
Hi. I'm new but I've been reading this post since it started, and I've been wanting to ask, in addition to Frogster's question, What is yer favorite Richard Hunt memory? Thank you /so/ much for taking the time to answer our questions.
OK! Finally I am back to answer some more of your questions. Sorry this took too long but it could not be helped. First we start with Fighbird which is more of a request for something to be put into the next Fraggle Rock DVD box set. Which maybe a good idea.
Ok Fighbird I remember a couple of times that we had contest winners. Anyway I don’t really know who you would send that in to except HIT and they may have an e-mail or web site number on the package for you to ask that. Thanks for sharing that and I’ll answer your other question down a bit further.
Next one comes from DB(Donald Barrie
Thanks for your letter Donald and I hope that you are doing well these days. I do indeed remember going to that school and talking with you guys and I remember I had a good time there. For any of you guys who didn’t know it I have Cerebral Palsy it’s a mild case but there. It was to inspire them. I asked the Henson Company if I could borrow Morris to taken into the school along with some of my own puppets at the time and they gave me their blessing to take him. I was lucky enough to have some pictures taken of me with the kids. All in all it went well. One of these days I’ll have to scan the pictures and find a place to post them. Again thanks Donald.
Our old friend David Ebersole who asked:
Ok David here’s how all of that happened. The first person to get on Blizzard Island was BP Nichole and that was because I asked for him to be the head writer. This was because I got along with BP so well. The same with Tim Gosley, I asked for him to play the character Rog. For the Director I had originally asked for Terry Maskell(Check Spelling) but the producer Andrew Cochran (Not the Andrew Cochran from a show called Switchback) wanted George Bloomfield and that was based on what he saw from a few Fraggle Rock episodes. The other writers for the show where all picked by BP as he knew them better than I did. Thanks again David.
Hi Muppetdude, I see that David has answered a little bit of your question and he is right although Henchy was created by who ever wrote his first episode with the World’s Oldest Fraggle. Henchy was based on another Fraggle that John did as a Background and he too was green although John called him Chancy Fraggle and the things John did with his Fraggle where very funny. Rob Mills had a Pink Fraggle named Fred but he never caught on. Rumple Fraggle was another pink Fraggle with a vest and an aviator hat on, he was done by Gordon Robertson and I remember that Rumple got lines in four episodes. I remember that Myra Fried had created a Fraggle that was head of the Fraggle Gazette that Morris was a reporter for but she was never used. If you check out “Marooned” you’ll see that she is stand right next to Morris as they pull out Red and Boober from the cave in. I think I turn Morris’s head toward her as I made him afraid to look. I can’t remember what the other Canadian performers came up with. Well it’s not much but it’s better than nothing. Thanks Muppetdude.
Hi Fighbird, now if you are wondering Lila and Humphrey where two Monster puppets on ebay that Fighbird bought from me. “Follow That Bird” was very different from Fraggle Rock and that’s because “Follow That Bird” is a film and it takes way longer to shoot a movie then a TV series. It takes forever just to light a scene. I remember that I was puppeteering Biff in the opening scene where Big Bird is roller-skating in but I am very small in the scene. I was Cookie Monster in Hooper’s store when they are trying planning to go out and rescue Big Bird. Here’s a story for you. I was sitting on the floor with Cookie Monster and my back was against a table on that table was a jar of Smarties so in between takes I would reach up and grab some Smarties and eat them. I did that maybe three times before someone came over the PA and asked. “Would somebody stop eating the props!” “Me Sorry but no cookies so me eat smarties.” I played one of the Honkers in the scene where Maria was explaining that Big Bird had all of these friends. That’s all I remember doing. I didn’t get to be on the location shots. I remember that the Human performers where very nice and I had a nice chat with Susan. Thanks for your question Fighbird.
Hi Eff, to answer your question No Murray the Minstrel did not have a tail. I like this one quick and to the point thanks Eff. That’s it for now I’ll be back again some time to answer Frogster and MeepBorkMeep’s questions.
Thanks everyone and take care.
A short but nice answer, Terry. Hit the nail right on the head. I was asking because of this:
And forum member "The Count" has been compiling an extended list of Muppet characters and people who exist in the Muppet universe (we fans are nuts):
As for Murray, this thread features a picture of Murray with what looks like a tail:
But based on your answer, that must be a flower or a plant.
I thought one of the honkers looked a bit funny in "Follow That Bird"; there's a shot of a group of honkers in front of Bob and Maria, and one of them was right-handed (but the glove was built for a left hand, so the hand looked a bit odd.) It was the sea green one with glasses.
Anyway, I've got another question: Who played Balsam the Minstrel (the armadillo-looking one)? None of the Muppet sites have a performer listed for him.
Hey Terry, thanks for answering the questions.
When you were putting the Blizzard Island project together, what were some of the obstacles you faced and what, in hindsight, would you do differently?
Gonna try for a simple one.
What's your favorite episode of The Muppet Show, if you have a favorite?
David "Gorgon Heap" Ebersole
I have a question
After reading about Dave Goelz's nose getting itchy while holding up two puppets (from the TMS Season 1 "Muppet Morsels"), I wondered:
Due to ostrich feather tufts detaching from Fraggle heads (or tails), were any re-takes done due to sneezing Muppeteers?
I could just see a FR scene being taped:
Boober: "Good morning Gobo. How are you?"
(From below): ACHOO!
Boober: "Was that you?"
Gobo: "No, it was that Silly Creature down there with the beard that follows me around." (Looks down) "Bless you."
Jerry Nelson: "Thanks!"
Ok everyone I am finally back to answer more of your questions. Boy I have been gone for a long while this time. Let’s get started with Frogster’s question.
Jim was for the most part a quite guy so it was always a surprise to see him run a character. The first time that any of us Canadians at Fraggle seen Jim Henson perform was when he did the Convincing John number and suddenly Jim became a dynamo. This man was all over the place with that puppet yet when you looked at the monitor it looked great. I remember being in aw of him at that moment.
The first time that we all seen him perform Kermit for the first time was a magical moment too. Jim was doing a promo with Kermit in the Gorgs Garden and I think I remember most of us going in the studio and like a bunch of children sitting on the floor watching Jim Henson performing Kermit. That will always remain in my memory for a long time.
One other memory that I have of Jim was the last time that I ever saw him and that was when I was doing a live show with him in Washington DC called “From The Heart; Very Special Arts” This was a show that showcased people with special challenges that had talent in the arts. For that show I performed a Robin like frog character called Kerm 2 singing “It’s Not Easy being Green” with Jim and Kermit. I can’t remember if we had finished our skit or if we where about go on or if it was during rehearsal. Anyway Jim asked me how Blizzard Island was doing and I told him it was canceled by the CBC. Jim put his arm on my shoulder and said “They canceled me too.” He was talking about “The Jim Henson Hour”. After the show was over Jim had to catch his flight we said our good byes. Little did I know that it would be the last time I would ever see him again.
Like Jim Henson I had more than one favorite memory of Richard Hunt. I always use to enjoy the Fraggle Rock Christmas and wrap parties especially when Richard was performing as MC. He was very funny and very good. You could tell that Richard loved to perform.
There was one day on the Fraggle set I believe it was after one of the Monday morning read-throughs that I was showing Richard a puppet of Beaker that I had built for him and Richard knew that I could do pretty good impersonations of a few of the Muppets and he asked if I could do Beaker. I gulped and tried but Beaker was one character I could not really do. Richard had informed me that he didn’t just Meep, meeped him. He told me that he performed Beaker inhaling and showed me.
I remembered the time that I introduced my then future wife Cheryl to Richard. Richard would sometimes jokingly call me Skosh because I was from Nova Scotia. So Richard strolled in and greeted me with a big “Hey Skosh!” “Richard I would like you to meet my girlfriend Cheryl.” “Ah! A Skoshette” Richard was on his way to do something but he was kind enough to take a bit of time to chat with her.
The thing that will always stick out in my mind was my first audition for Fraggle. I don’t think I could ever tell it as well as tribute that I did on Richard for Muppet Central.
MuppetDude, I apologize. I am very wrong and this is a bad case of having egg in my face. I was going by memory and I didn’t remember seeing Murry with a tail and non of my photos with Murry shows him with a tail that I could see but then again none of my photos views Murry from the back just the front. However I looked around for the my copy of that photo that you have a link to and sure enough that is a tail. So I went to my photo album and rechecked the photos and there is one picture of Dave Goelz performing Murry while Steve did Wembley for that scene. I took a closer look at that picture and there is indeed a tail there. It’s barely visible but there. I will never trust my own memory again! Thanks for setting me strait MuppetDude. Oh and I think you are right about which Honker I did. You see although I write with my right hand I puppeteer with my left hand. Now I remember that hand feeling odd.
Hey there David, you would think that it would be an easy question to ask until you stop and realize that there where way more than one that I like of the Muppet Show. So I give you three of my favorites. I loved the Mac Davis episode where Beaker got copied. Good music and lots of good funny moments. I loved the scene where Mac Davis thinks that all the beakers are his new back up singers and he shows them how to a number and they all faint. I liked the Elton John episode again lots of good songs and bits. The Alice Cooper episode was good and I just have to mention one more I can’t forget the Harry Belafonte Episode. The banana boat song with Fozzie just not getting it right was hilarious. So that’s a small sample of my favorite Muppet Show episodes.
I loved the little story there Convincing John. I know what Dave Goelz was talking about. When I was performing two Fraggles at once I remember at one time or another having to itch my nose but I would wait till the scene was done then I used the side of the puppet body to itch the problem. I use to hate doing two puppets at once because it was harder to keep your head out of the shot. As for retakes done due to sneezing? I really can’t remember that happening except I blew a lot of takes when I was sick with a cold. One episode my nose was so plugged up it made it very hard to breath. I had to walk from point “A” to point “B” then deliver my line. I had such a hard time breathing that I was out of breath by the time I stopped to do the line and I couldn’t do the line. So what they ended up doing was stopping tape and we did the line on another angle. I was really unhappy with myself on that day. Thanks Convincing John.
Well that’s it for now. I know I didn’t answer MGov’s Blizzard Island question but it’s one that I am really got to put a bit of thought on. So I’ll answer that one next time around. Take care all and thanks.
Thanks Terry for taking the time to answer our questions. I'll have to try that Beaker thing. Hang on.....Wow! That really does help! I've tried it before while exhaling, and it came out sounding all hollow, now I know why. Thank you so much.
Now I'll be thinking of myself as "the guy that set Terry Angus straight". Now I've got guilt.
I'd hate to sound rude, but in case you missed my question: Who played Balsam the Minstrel (the armadillo-looking one)? None of the Muppet sites have a performer listed for him. All I know is that whoever played him had long black hair (in the "Down at FR" special behind the scenes of "The Rock Goes On").
Hi Terry. You're a great puppeteer and I admire all of you Puppeteers for doing such a great job on these productions
You were involved with 'Fantastic Miss Piggy Show' and 'A Muppet Family Christmas' according to Muppet Wiki. I was wondering which Muppets you performed on these two occasions?
Mr. Angus, Have you heard anything on The New Fraggle Movie, from any one now working on the movie?!!
I believe he mentioned who he performed in MFC in a previous question.
I just finished watching "Beginnings" of Fraggle Rock and I have two questions: What all did you do in the first episode? and Could you explain to us how the Trash Heap operates, like is it two or three puppeteers, where they are positioned etc.? Thanks again, for sparing some of your valuable time to share with us your vast knowledge. I have looked forward to reading your post.
You mentioned Kermit doing a Promo in the Gorgs garden, And you previously mentioned a child coming onto the set for a tour set up by a TV Show.
My question is Do you remember any other promos or things happening like this?
The reason I ask is so we can find out about these things about contact HIT Entertainment abuot getting them put onto the Fraggles DVD Sets!
I know Travelling Matt did a spot for UK channel ITV for the kids hour called 'CITV'. And we know of Matt and Cotterpin on The Today Show in the 90's talking about the "new" VHS releases.
Hi Terry. I don't have a question (yet!) but I'd just like to say thanks for taking time to talk to us! it's amazing trivia like Beaker being inhalled that really makes a difference!
Two quick yes or no qs:
bp Nichol wrote most of your Storyteller episodes; I take it this is not a coincidence?
Whenever I notice Morris in a crowd scene, he's nearly always on the left side of the screen and next to Red Fraggle; I take it this is also not a coincidence?
David "Gorgon Heap" Ebersole
Hi one and all,
Well it’s taken a lonnng time to get back to you guys this time and there are lots of questions to be answered so sit down for a long read as we start off with a question I didn’t get around to last time from MGov
Hi MGov, There are lots of things that I would do differently. Blizzard Island was a show that was very close to my heart and I had some good times but it had caused a lot of pain too. When I signed the contracts I lost a lot more than I should have and lawyers have a way of wording contracts that seem to say one thing or you take it one way and it really means something else. The producer’s lawyer was better than my lawyer plus producers have a way of making everything sound urgent. So the two biggest things that I can tell you to do is to get a good lawyer and don’t be in a rush to sign. Yes you have to give up some rights but don’t give them all up. I was young and foolish.
Also when it comes to dealing with a third party such as the CBC you have to know that it’s a game of give and take. You have to let them suggest a few changes. Weight the changes and decide what you can let them have for example. With Blizzard Island originally my Witch character was living in a castle but the CBC wanted her to live in a lighthouse to give it a Nova Scotia feel. They also wanted Molcaster the Cat to be a seagull. So you go in like this. “We will have the Witch live in a Lighthouse if you let us keep Molcaster as a cat. There was lots of stuff like that when Andrew Cochran Productions first brought CBC into the mix.
This is why “Four Fish Fly Free” Didn’t make it. Now “Four Fish Fly Free” was not my creation so I had nothing to do with its content. As you may or may not know we had done a four direct to video shows and there where hopes that it would get a series but when the producer/creator got together with PBS they did not get along at all and the sad fact was that PBS had some very good ideas that the Creator/Producer hated but reluctantly went along with because he had a partner who was all for the changes and this was for the TV pilot. Sadly it all went down the tubes because of all the fights. There was no way that PBS was going to deal with that. Folks it was a big fat mess. For more on Four Fish Fly Free go to my web site. Four Fish
Thanks for your question MGov.
A big thank you for your letter MeepBorkMeep and I’m glad that you found my info on Beaker’s voice helpful. Take care.
Hey MuppetDude, no need to feel guilty about setting me strait on Murry Minstrel. I guess I just never took note of it years ago and you are not being rude.
Balsam Minstrel was performed by different puppeteers. One episode Lee Armstrong was working the puppet. In “Mokey and The Minstrels” he was voiced by Jerry Nelson and I can’t remember if he was working the puppet or not. I think I remember Karen working him in one episode although I am not sure. For the last Minstrel episode I can’t remember who worked Balsam. If you look at the Making of video you see that the person is tall and has dark hair at least that’s what I see.
Maybe the mystery can be solved through a process of elimination. Here’s who I knew was working who. Gordon Roberson was taking over on Murry from Steve in both puppet and voice. Tim Gosley was performing Brool as he did from day one. Rob Mills was working the Inkspot and I was performing Brio. In the male Canadians this leaves Mike Petersen, Frank Meschkuleit, Bob Stutt and John Pattison. There is also a question of is Balsam being worked by one of the female Canadians eh? So I am very sorry MuppetDude that I wasn’t more helpful I really feel like I failed on this one. Now you can be the first guy to cause me some sleepless nights. Just kidding.
Hi Pepestarr and thank you for your wonderful letter. MuppetDude is correct I did indeed answer the question of who I worked on The Muppet Family Christmas and you can find that answer Here.
Now here’s what I did for the “Fantastic Miss Piggy Show” I performed Zoot and Sam Eagle. There wasn’t as many Muppets in that one as there was in “Family Christmas. I enjoyed performing them both. I think I told this story before but it was close to the end of shooting and somehow I broke Sam’s head right off the body and they had to fix it. They ended up gluing the head completely down which made it so that the head could not turn around. Right after that we had to shoot the ending scene where they had to set off explosions in different parts of the set. This was used for the credit roll. Because Sam’s head could no longer move I had to turn and move the whole body of the Sam puppet. Suddenly the wing slipped over my head and you can see the back of my head right in the shot. Because the explosions could only be used once they had to keep it. So I ask forgiveness and thanks again Pepestar.
Hi Wes, It’s good to see you again. Sadly I have not heard a thing about the new Fraggle Movie and I have a bad feeling that I will not be a part of it. Just a feeling I have. The last time I talked to Karen Prell which was a couple of months ago she had not been officially contacted about it either so I don’t know what’s going on but if I hear anything about it I will pass it along. Take care Wes and thanks
Hi Froggiegirl, I hope that you enjoyed “Beginnings” although it was specially made to start the series it was not the first show that we taped. That show was “The Thirty Minute Work Week” Now back to “Beginnings” I can’t remember doing to much in that episode Lets see, I remember operating a Yellow Fraggle with a purple goatee beard that was giving a piggyback ride for another Fraggle and this was during the first “Hip, Hip Hooray” song. I think I was assisting Dave Goelz with Matt’s right hand during the “Follow Me” song and in the reprise of the “Hip, Hip Hooray” song at the end I was a Green Fraggle that was hanging off of a slag mite on the left over Boober. This Fraggle would become John Pattison’s Henchy character the Worlds Oldest Fraggle’s flunky.
I remember watching the scene when Matt first goes to outer space. That was shot at a house that was next door to the back of our studio.
Now for the opening theme I have a very hard time remembering where I was except in two scenes. I was a Purple Fraggle with pink fur for the body and light green hair I used this guy in the two scenes that I remember. One is just as Gobo is leaving the great Hall to go up to the Gorg’s garden in that very quick scene I am operating a Purple Fraggle with a Pink fur body and green hair it’s right on the bottom. The other scene is when Gobo is dropped by Jr. Gorg down to the Great Hall into the Fraggle Pond and I am operating the same purple/pink Fraggle only this time the Fraggle is sitting on a rock holding a flower.
OK, Froggiegirl on to your second question. The Trash Heap was operated by three people and that is because of her size. Jerry Nelson did the head and voice and two other performers on either side of Jerry did the arms. Most of the time I believe that the arms where done by Trish Leeper and Cheryl Wagner. Myra Fried also use to control one of the arms too until she left. The biggest trick in working the Trash Heap’s arms is when she claps during a song. Get a friend and using only one hand each try to clap with that friend and you’ll see what I mean. Thanks Froggiegirl I am glad you like my posts.
Hey, BlueFrackle. It’s good to see you again. This is a hard one to answer but I’ll try my best. Other than a couple of contests I can’t remember too much in the way of extra footage of things. What I do remember are a few news reports. There was one done of me by the CBC but the tape I use to have it on was lost years in a theft. I lost a lot of videos plus my VCR, a necklace that I gave Cheryl and the very, very first Home video that Stoney Ripley and I did of Blizzard Island. We made another one after that. This was before I was married to Cheryl and I was visiting at her apartment. Anyway back to the answer here. I remember there where a few items done for Entertainment Tonight plus a couple of videos that where made for the cast and crew and they where never meant for the public to see although our final wrap party video somehow got out there and around. The biggest sad news is that none of our Bloopers where ever saved at least as far as I know. That is all I can remember right now of extra stuff for the second Fraggle DVD set. Sorry this is not very helpful BlueFrackle.
Thank you very much Beauregard. I’m very glad that you are enjoying the trivia that is coming out of these questions and answers. Thanks for taking the time to type your comment.
Hey, there David, I don’t think it’s a coincidence as I think BP Nichol really liked the Storyteller character and we both got a long very well. It was because of the Storyteller episodes and the fact that we got on very well that I talked Cochran into having BP as our head writer for Blizzard Island.
Morris almost always on the left? Wow David that is really observant of you. The main reason that Morris tended to be on the left side of the screen was because I’m a left handed puppeteer. It’s easer to keep out of the shot for a left handed puppeteer if he or she is on the left side of the screen. Now seeing as I was good friends with Karen Prell it would only be natural that you would tend to hang out more with a friend and Karen is a very easy person to get along with.
Well I guess that’s all for now I've got to get started on my taxes so thank you very much everyone and take care of yourselves.
That would be "The Fraggles Look for Jobs", correct?
Thanks for getting back to us. My that was a long post
David "Gorgon Heap" Ebersole
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